So one more branch of Muthuvel Karunanidhi’s family tree looks set to become part of the woodwork at Tihar Jail. If political grapevine in Delhi is to be believed, Dayanidhi Maran may soon join his predecessor Andimuthu Raja. His relative Kanimozhi is only a stone’s throw away in the women’s prison. And with Jayalalithaa likely to target the Kalaignar khaandaan‘s activities with the precision of a woodpecker in Tamilnadu, there is likely to be no karuna for Karuna.
Jokes apart, even when he knew he was about to lose his place in Manmohan Singh’s team, Dayanidhi attended what was to be his last cabinet meeting. Where like a good boy, he excused himself when the issue of FM licences came up for discussion before the cabinet, citing conflict of interest, since Sun TV, which is into FM radio, is owned by his family. Wish such wisdom had dawned before the maran of his political career happened.
Maran used his portfolio to good effect to build bridges for himself with the powerful Delhi circuit. It helped Daya that Karunanidhi & Sons were the rustic Madarasi Veshti types. Tongue-twister names like Azhagiri did not help matters since the only south Indian words which Dilliwallahs found easy to pronouce were idly, dosa and sambar. And Dayanidhi too !
Another quality the Maran brothers have is combativeness. They do not go down without a fight. The CBI charge against Daya is that he, as Telecom minister, made it difficult for Aircel to get the license until Sivasankaran sold off to Maxis. After which, Maran laid out the red carpet for Aircel’s new owners who also had a cosy business relationship with Sun network.
Where does Dayanidhi go from here? In the short term, he could well have Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Sharat, Lalit Bhanot, Balwa for company. If that happens, I expect a garrulous Kalmadi to sportingly go out of his way to make the new entrant comfortable. The Tamilian presence has already meant south Indian snacks have been added to the Tihar menu though Maran’s tastes may well be continental.
Outside Tihar, the Maran saga has marred the reputation of the UPA further. The DMK-Congress match, that of course exists only on paper now, is likely to reach breakpoint now that it is Advantage Jaya. And the Sun TV group is discovering that the milky galaxy that it revelled in when the DMK was in power, is quickly turning into a Black hole.